Truck backlog grows as winds stall Marine Atlantic crossings

Marine Atlantic is hoping for a break in the weather Friday night so it can clear a backlog of trucks and passengers waiting to cross the Cabot Strait.

Transport trucks and holiday travellers waiting to cross from North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L.

The parking is full at the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal in North Sydney as travellers wait for winds to abate. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

Marine Atlantic is hoping for a break in the weather Friday night so it can clear a backlog of trucks and passengers waiting to cross the Cabot Strait.

Crossings were cancelled several times this week because of high winds and rough seas. About 200 trucks are lined up in Port aux Basques, N.L., and another 150 in North Sydney, N.S.

There are also a couple of hundred passengers waiting on either side.

Marine Atlantic is keen to clear the backlog as the holiday season approaches.

"This time of year it's very busy," said spokesperson Darrell Mercer. "There's a lot of Christmas gifts being shipped; we see a lot of food supplies being sent to the grocery stores, mail."

'You get used to it'

There are long lines of tractor-trailers at the terminal in North Sydney, but many truckers are accustomed to delays, especially during the colder months.

"You get used to it," shrugs Duane Hyslop, a long-haul trucker from Saint John who takes the ferry to Newfoundland several times a month during the winter.

He's been waiting since Wednesday to board the ferry. He's on his way to Come By Chance with a load of fuel additive for the refinery there.

"It gets there when it gets there," said Hyslop. "The thing with me is, though, if my wheels aren't moving, I'm not making any money."

Mercer said Marine Atlantic is expecting even more traffic next week as families travel for the holidays. But once the high winds die down later this evening, he said the forecast looks good for the next several days.

Crossings are scheduled to resume from both Port aux Basques and North Sydney just before midnight Friday.